Belter bed soars to $201,250 at Hal Hunt's Feb. 21 sale A rare and magnificent pierce-carved laminated rosewood bed, crafted by J.H. Belter and one of only two known, soared to $201,250 at an auction held Feb. 21 by Hal Hunt Auctions in Northport, Alabama.
News-Antique.com - Mar 09,2009 - (Northport, Ala.) – An exceedingly rare and magnificent pierce-carved laminated rosewood bed, beautifully crafted by John Henry Belter (circa 1850s) and one of only two known, soared to $201,250 at a multi-estate sale held Feb. 21 by Hal Hunt Auctions. The bed was the top earner of the 437 lots that crossed the block in an auction Hal Hunt described as “an advanced sale for the advanced collector.”
The Belter bed was stamped (or embossed) in six places, with a patent date. It was pictured in the book, American Furniture of the 19th Century, 1840s-1880s. The only other known example is in The Brooklyn Museum. Overall, the sale was wildly successful, despite a generally poor economy.”There were some great bargains that might have brought stronger prices in better times,” Mr. Hunt said, “but serious buyers paid top dollar for the high-quality merchandise.”
Mr. Hunt said for the sale to be as successful as it was – around 350 people in attendance, in the dead of winter, in a sour financial climate – suggests that people are choosing to put their money into hard assets, like true antiques, instead of stocks and bonds. “The nice thing about quality antiques is, you can actually enjoy them while you own them,” he added, “and they almost always appreciate in value.”
Following are other highlights from the sale. All prices include a 15 percent buyer’s premium.
The Belter piece wasn’t the only bed sold. A walnut Victorian half tester bed attributed to Mitchells & Rammelsburg hammered for $25,875; a two-piece walnut carved Victorian bedroom suite attributed to Alexander Roux rose to $20,125; an 1850s New Orleans McCracken four-poster bed hit $14,950; and a Mitchells & Rammelsburg pierce-carved high-back Victorian bed commanded $10,925.
Period furniture dominated the day’s offerings. A spectacular three-piece mahogany Karpen parlor suite with griffins and dolphins reached $48,875; a 9-foot-tall rosewood cylinder secretary desk with bird’s-eye maple interior, attributed to T. Brooks, commanded $34,500; a heavily carved Black Forest cabinet reached $25,875; and a French polished rosewood cabinet-base étagère made $23,575.
J. H. Belter pieces climbed to dizzying prices. A rare, 10-piece laminated rosewood parlor suite in mint condition and in the Milwaukee pattern, gaveled for $132,250; a rosewood dresser with serpentine laminated drawers, carved flowers and dresser boxes achieved $92,000; and a laminated rosewood center table with carved flowers and grapes made $48,875.
Also from J.H. Belter: a rosewood laminated tall crest sofa in the Tuthill King pattern went for $34,500; a rosewood laminated recamier with fountain elms hammered for $29,900; a rosewood étagère in the Rosalie pattern (84 inches high by 60 inches wide) crossed the block at $27,025; and a rosewood cabinet base étagère (tall, at 93 inches high by 51 inches wide) went to a determined bidder for $20,125.
Furniture by J. & J.W. Meeks also did well. A rare rosewood laminated pierce-carved parlor table in the Hawkins pattern changed hands for $54,050; an 8-piece rosewood laminated pierce-carved parlor suite in the Hawkins pattern achieved $46,000; and